Texas Wildfire Update 6/25/11

While we were sleeping last night, crews were fighting wildfires overnight. I have to say that I did a double-take yesterday when I saw the fireworks stand near our neighborhood. Here’s hoping common sense prevails. See this latest report from the Texas Forest Service:

Wildfire Update – June 25, 2011

Current situation:

· Texas Forest Service responded to two new large fires yesterday in Jones and Garza counties.

· We currently are responding to 16 major fires that have burned more than 177,000 acres.

· The Midway Fire in Walker County was contained at 2,412 acres.

· 230 of the 254 Texas counties are reporting burn bans.

· Detailed fire information can be found at inciweb.org.

· Questions about evacuations, burn bans and fireworks bans should be directed to the county judge, sheriff’s office or emergency management coordinator.

New large fires from yesterday (more than 100 acres in timber, 300 acres in lighter fuels):

ALEXANDER, Jones County. 800 acres, unknown containment. Three homes and cattle are threatened. This fire is burning 13 miles north of Abilene. Resources worked this fire through the night.

RICHARDSON, Garza County. 7,000 acres, 90 percent contained. Twelve homes are threatened. This fire is burning 6 miles northwest of Post. Resources worked this fire through the night.

Uncontained fires from previous days (more than 100 acres in timber, 300 acres in lighter fuels):

WHITE HAT, Coke and Nolan Counties. 71,899 acres, 80 percent contained. There are voluntary evacuations around the community of Maryneal. One hundred fifty homes and 50 other structures are threatened. Eight homes, eight outbuildings and three vehicles were destroyed. A power substation received heavy damage. Heavy airtankers, single-engine airtankers and helitankers continue to assist on this fire. This fire is burning 4 miles south of Maryneal.

BEARING, Polk and Trinity Counties. 20,222 acres, 85 percent contained. The fire is burning near Carmona. Two homes and six cabins were destroyed and dozens have been evacuated.

DYER MILL, Grimes County. 5,280 acres, 95 percent contained. Thirty homes are confirmed destroyed, along with three businesses. More than 1,000 homes and businesses were evacuated; the evacuation order has been lifted. This fire is burning approximately 3 miles east of Whitehall.

POWER LINE, Jasper County. 4,163 acres, 95 percent contained. The fire is burning just south of Lake Sam Rayburn Dam. Five hundred homes were threatened.

SMAC, Brooks County. 35,000 acres, 95 percent contained. This fire is burning 13 miles southwest of Falfurrias.

MITCHELL RANCH 2, Crockett County. 5,000 acres, 80 percent contained. This fire is burning 31 miles southwest of Ozona.

BOYKEN RD, Howard County. 5,067 acres, 95 percent contained. Over 100 homes threatened, one home lost. This fire is burning just south of Big Spring.

TRENT MESA, Taylor County. 600 acres, 50 percent contained. This fire is burning 8 miles southwest of Merkel. Numerous wind turbines are threatened.

McDONALD II, Clay County. 5,915 acres, 50 percent contained. The fire was threatening the town of Henrietta. Evacuations of numerous homes and businesses took place last night.

ROCK CREEK, Stonewall County. 8,000 acres, 80 percent contained. The fire is burning seven miles northeast of Aspermont in tall grass.

JRM, Throckmorton County. 7,000 acres, 95 percent contained. This fire is a complex of four lightning fires near Throckmorton. Twelve homes are threatened.

NANCE RANCH, Randall County. 607 acres, 90 percent contained. Two single-engine airtankers and a TFS task force worked the fire burning in grass six miles east of Canyon. Twelve homes were saved.

FINIS, Young County. 393 acres, 90 percent contained. This fire is burning approximately 8 miles southeast of Graham.

MILES, Wheeler County. 500 acres, 90 percent contained. Three houses were evacuated. This fire is burning approximately 4 miles east northeast of Wheeler, near the airport.

Fire numbers:

Since fire season started on Nov. 15, 2010, Texas Forest Service and area fire departments have responded to 12,779 fires that have burned 3,251,365 acres. These figures are updated every Monday and Friday.

Fireworks safety tips:

Texas Forest Service does not make decisions regarding fireworks restrictions or outdoor burn bans. The state agency does, however, provide drought information to county government officials. Under state law, each county is tasked with making its own decisions regarding fireworks restrictions and burn bans.

· Follow all county and city laws regarding fireworks use.

· Only use fireworks outdoors and away from dry grass and buildings.

· Read the labels and use only as directed, with adult supervision.

· Keep water, wet towels, and a garden hose nearby.

· Allow fireworks to cool completely before handling, and discard used fireworks into a bucket of water.

Prevention messages:

· Firewise (firewise.org) is a resource for residents to protect their home and property from wildfire.

· Adjust the safety chains on your trailers to ensure they don’t drag and create sparks that can cause roadside starts.

· Never leave a campfire unattended. Always have tools available to put out a fire.

· Remove flammable materials from around your home.

· Develop an evacuation plan for your family. Resources are available on the Firewise website and at texasfirestorm.org.

· Obey outdoor burning bans. Don’t burn trash or debris when conditions are dry or windy. Unsafe burning of leaves, brush, household trash and other debris is the No. 1 cause of wildfires in Texas.

· Keep lawn mowers and agricultural equipment in proper working condition and avoid rocks and other materials which might cause a spark.

· To report suspicious activities, call the Arson Hotline at (888) 501-3850. If possible, safely obtain an accurate description of the person and/or vehicle (including the license number) before calling the hotline.

· Humans cause more than 90 percent of all wildfires. Do not weld or cut without a spotter, a water source and a shovel.

Public Information Officer Rae Brooks
Lone Star Incident Management Team
(979) 229-7921

About M.J.Deare

I am a writer, actively researching topics of interest. I am also a graduate of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, with a degree in English, and have a master's degree from the University of Memphis. Born in New Orleans, I lived there until moving to northwest Arkansas and from there to Memphis, Tennessee. My husband and I currently reside in The Woodlands, Texas.
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